Scientists Warn The World Is Not Ready For The Next Super Bang: ScienceAlert

Even if mankind could not self-destruct by war or Climate changeThere are still other existential threats for which we must be prepared.

The Earth came pre-loaded with so many dangers long before we started accumulating, some of which are still barely experienced by our species.

One of the more flashy dangers comes from asteroids, such as those suspected of being destroyed dinosaurs 65 million years ago. As we try to anticipate our own doomsday, the cautionary tale of the dinosaurs seems to suggest that we direct our vigils upward.

That makes sense, and humans wisely prepare in ways that dinosaurs, with investments in, couldn’t Observation of asteroids and even deflection.

But as two researchers pointed out in a new file Suspension in the magazine temper natureWe should not allow asteroid Anxiety overshadows another enormous danger lurking beneath our noses: volcanoes.

“Over the next century, large-scale volcanic eruptions are hundreds of times more likely than impacts of asteroids and comets, combined” Type Michael Cassidy, Professor of Volcanology at the University of Birmingham, and Lara Mane, Research Associate at the University of Cambridge’s Center for the Study of Existential Risk.

While preparing for asteroids is wise, we don’t do much about the most likely volcanic event. ‘super eruption’Cassidy and Manny argue.

They write that governments and global agencies spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually on planetary defense, including a new US experiment to repel space rocks.

NASA agency Double Asteroid Redirect Test The DART mission will soon test the feasibility of asteroid deflection by trying to move an asteroid out of its path. The DART task will cost about 330 million dollarsAnd while that’s a bargain if it saves us from an asteroid, Cassidy and Manny note that there’s no comparable investment to prepare for a super-eruption.

“This needs to change” hmm Type.

Volcanoes may be less exotic than fireballs from space, but that’s all the more reason to respect them: Volcanoes, unlike asteroids, actually exist on Earth. They are scattered all over the planet, often covered in stunning scenery that belies their destructive potential.

And while humans have seen plenty of terrible eruptions in the modern era, most of them pale in comparison to the giant volcanoes that erupt every 15,000 years or so.

the last super eruption This species occurred about 22,000 years ago, according to the US Geological Survey. (The “super eruption” is one with a magnitude of 8, the highest rating in volcanic eruption indicatoror VEI.)

The most recent volcanic eruption with a magnitude of 7 occurred in 1815 AD Mount TamboraIndonesia, killing an estimated 100,000 people.

Ash and smoke lowered global temperatures by about 1°C on average, causing a “year without a summer” in 1816. There were widespread crop failures, leading to famine, disease outbreaks, and violence.

Monitoring of volcanoes has improved since 1815, as has our ability to mobilize global support for disaster relief, but not necessarily enough to offset all the risks we now face.

Earth’s population has doubled since the early 19th century, Cassidy and Manny note, and some large urban areas have thrived near dangerous volcanoes. We are also more dependent on global trade, so disruptions in one place can lead to food shortages and other crises in other places.

The danger posed by volcanoes may be greater than we think. in Study 2021 Based on data from ancient ice cores, researchers have found that the intervals between catastrophic eruptions are hundreds or even thousands of years shorter than previously thought.

The history of many volcanoes remains obscure, making it difficult to predict future eruptions and concentrate resources where the risks are higher. We need more research on ice cores as well as historical and geological records, Cassidy and Manny write, including marine cores and lakes, especially in high-risk but data-poor regions such as Southeast Asia.

We also need more interdisciplinary research to help us predict how a super-eruption could cripple civilization, they add, by identifying risks to commerce, agriculture, energy and infrastructure, as well as geography. Disk Points Where volcanic hazards interfere with important trade networks.

More comprehensive monitoring of volcanoes is also vital, including ground monitoring as well as aerial and satellite monitoring. The researchers noted that volcanologists have long been eager for a specialized volcano-monitoring satellite, which could enhance readiness beyond the current system of sharing existing satellites with other scientists.

Community awareness and education is another key to resilience. People need to know if they live in volcanic danger zones, how to prepare for an eruption, and what to do when it occurs.

In addition to preparatory outreach, authorities also need ways to broadcast public alerts when volcanoes erupt, Cassidy and Manny write, such as text messages with details about evacuations, tips for surviving an eruption, or directions to shelters and health care facilities.

The comment was published in the magazine temper nature.